Modified 30-second Sit-to-Stand Test

If you are conducting physical examinations on elderly patients, include the Modified 30-Second Sit-to-Stand Test as part of it because elderly people are, more often than not, at risk of falling!

By Matt Olivares on Jun 03, 2024.

Fact Checked by Ericka Pingol.

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What is the Modified 30-second Sit-to-Stand Test?

Before we start discussing the , it’s best to talk about its unmodified version, also referred to as the 30-second Chair Stand Test.

The regular 30-second Sit-to-Stand Test is a type of physical therapy-related assessment developed to evaluate geriatric patients/older adults aged 60+ and their risk of falling by gauging their leg strength.

The test instructions are easy to follow, and the professional conducting it does not require any special equipment. The professional only needs two things to conduct this: a chair that is 17 inches tall (43.2 cm) and cannot have armrests (because they have to stand up without using their hands as support). The chair should be placed right by a wall but facing away from it. This is so the patient taking the test doesn’t fall back by accident.

The 30-second Sit-to-Stand Test’s instructions are not hard to follow, but since elderly patients are the main population of this kind of test, it has been found difficult to accomplish. Many geriatrics who were asked to take this test failed because they needed to use their hands as support — using your hands as support counts as a 0.

It’s because of that reason the Modified 30-second Sit-to-Stand Test was created. For this version of the 30-second Sit-to-Stand Test, chairs with armrests are now used, and geriatric patients taking the test are allowed to use their hands and armrests as support so long as they let go of these armrests as soon as they enter a full-standing position.

Printable Modified 30-second Sit-to-Stand Test

Download this Modified 30-second Sit-to-Stand Test to assess the risk of falling in your older patients.

How to conduct the Modified 30-second Sit-to-Stand Test

The first thing you need to do is to prepare a chair that is 17 inches tall (43.2 cm) and place it right by a wall, but the chair must be facing away from the wall. Again, this is a safety measure to prevent elderly patients from falling backward by accident if they lose their footing.

Once you have readied the chair, ready your stopwatch and instruct the patient to do the following:

  • Tell your patient to sit down on the chair.
  • While seated, tell them to keep their feet approximately shoulder-width apart. They must place their feet on the floor at an angle that is slightly back from the knees. One foot must be slightly in front of the other. This is important because this positioning will help maintain their balance while standing up.
  • While seated, they must also keep their back straight.
  • Once they are in position, tell them this: “When I say GO, rise to a full standing position, then sit back down again. Try to stand up and sit down as many times as you can until I say STOP.
  • Make sure to tell them that they can use the armrests as support. Just also let them know that they need to let go of the armrests once they are in a full-standing position.
  • Once you are done telling them these instructions, demonstrate them.
  • Have them do a practice round, then let them take a short break to regain stamina for the actual test.
  • After the post-practice round short break, conduct the actual test.

Now, as they are taking the test, do not forget to count and record the number of times they went into full-standing position throughout the 30-second runtime of the test. If ever you stop the timer while they are halfway to a full-standing position, count that as a full stand.

How to score the Modified 30-second Sit-to-Stand Test

The score that the patient will get is equal to the number of times they were able to assume a full-standing position.

Once you’ve recorded the score, take note of this score table:

Modified 30-second Sit-to-Stand Test Score Ranges

If your patient scores below the average, they are at risk of falling when standing up from a chair. If that’s the case, then your treatment plan must take into account the possibility that they might fall and that falling will impact them tremendously, so you might want to consider recommending support equipment for the elderly patient to use as well as having companions to assist them with standing up, sitting down, and performing activities of daily living, especially ones that require them to stand up or reach for something.

Modified 30-second Sit-to-Stand Test Example

Now you know everything there is to know about why the Modified 30-second Sit-to-Stand Test exists, how it’s conducted, and how to score it, it’s time to see our template for this particular test! Here’s what the template looks like.

Download this Modified 30-second Sit-to-Stand Test Example (Sample) here:

Modified 30-second Sit-to-Stand Test Example

It’s easy to use, and you just need to indicate the score and write down your decisions regarding your patient's treatment and your reasonings behind those decisions. Your patient will likely undergo a comprehensive examination to check for other complications that they might have, so the additional comments box is an excellent way to share information with your teammates.

If you like what you see, feel free to download a Modified 30-second Sit-to-Stand Test PDF for free! You can choose to print it and fill it out with a pen, or if you would rather go paperless, you can simply fill out the PDF!

When is it best to conduct the Modified 30-second Sit-to-Stand Test?

Given that the Modified 30-second Sit-to-Stand Test was developed to test elderly patients, it’s best to administer this as soon as they and/or their loved ones attend an appointment they scheduled with you to discuss (potential) problems with mobility and even activities of daily living.

Elderly people are at risk of falling, and the older they are, the more fragile they become, so it is best to check if they are actually at risk of falling as soon as possible, especially if their loved ones or the patients themselves notice that there are signs of them getting weaker and that falling might be a problem in the near future. This is so a care plan can be prepared to help prevent them from getting into situations where they might fall down by accident.

It’s also highly recommended that you include the Modified 30-second Sit-to-Stand Test as part of a more comprehensive examination. You are dealing with a geriatric patient, after all. This means they are likely to have other complications that must be addressed. Who knows? They might have problems with their arms. If you have a patient with complications with their arms, and then you have them take the Modified 30-second Sit-to-Stand Test, they still might have difficulty even if arm support is allowed. So it’s best to administer other tests as well to have a better look at the patient.

What are the benefits of the Modified 30-second Sit-to-Stand Test?

It gives elderly patients a better shot at actually being able to do the test.

Since elderly patients taking the test will likely require support, the Modified 30-second Sit-to-Stand Test allows them to take advantage of a chair’s armrests to help them stand up. This is not allowed in the regular version because using their arms will immediately stop the test, and they will get 0 points. With this, elderly patients will have the assistance they need in the form of armrests and a better shot at finishing the test, whether or not they pass.

Patients will become more aware of their limits.

Either version of the 30-second Sit-to-Stand Test will be helpful for the patient in the sense that it will help them recognize their limits based on the results if they weren’t aware of their limits in the first place. They will know how strong their legs are at this point in their lives and what kinds of activities they should avoid to prevent falling down.

They will also be aware of what needs to be done to get better (if it’s possible to get better), what can no longer be changed (which they will have to accept eventually), and how to adjust accordingly to what can’t be changed.

It can help guide treatment decisions.

The great thing about this test is that there are score ranges for you to look at, so you can easily determine if your patient is at risk of falling. If they are, then their score, as well as the age group they are in, can help inform what goes into their care plan. Of course, this should not be the sole assessment that you should use to determine everything that goes into your plan, so it’s best to combine the results of the Modified 30-second Sit-to-Stand Test with results from other tests to ensure that you are making a tailor-fitted treatment plan.

It can be used to monitor the patient.

This particular test doesn’t have to be a one-time, big-time test. You can include this as part of a routine checkup, so if your patient is already following a treatment plan, you can re-administer this test from time to time to see if they are getting better. And if they aren’t getting better, then maybe an aspect of your treatment plan isn’t working, or maybe you have to overhaul the whole thing. As to how frequently you should administer this test, that’s up to you.

Why use Carepatron for physical therapy-related work?

One of the points that we’ve reiterated a few times throughout this guide is that the Modified 30-second Sit-to-Stand Test should not be the sole assessment to be conducted on the patient. It only gauges a patient’s falling, though it may indicate that the patient has signs of degeneration in their body, especially if standing up, even with support from armrests, is a struggle.

If you want to conduct a comprehensive examination on a patient alongside your team, then take the time to browse around our platform! Carepatron is all about assisting healthcare professionals, and one way that we do so is by providing them with free resources! We have a massive resource repository that covers a wide range of healthcare fields, especially physical therapy. So feel free to download what you believe will make your work better and what can be included in a comprehensive examination of a geriatric patient!

We have both the Regular and Modified 30-second Sit-to-Stand Tests! So pick whichever you think is best for your patient! Or both!

We also have a storage system where you can store your clinical documents in a HIPAA-compliant manner, including filled-out 30-second Sit-to-Stand Test sheets! Storing them with us essentially creates digital backups of your files, and you can even set up access permissions (make sure to share it with your team to exchange results seamlessly)!

Convenience. Accessibility. Security. You get all three with Carepatron.

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Is the Modified 30-second Sit-to-Stand Test even safe?
Is the Modified 30-second Sit-to-Stand Test even safe?

Commonly asked questions

Is the Modified 30-second Sit-to-Stand Test even safe?

Yes, because the physical therapist is there to assist and prevent the patient from falling down. The test also takes into account one of the usual accidents when a person is seated, which is falling backward. That’s why the chair is placed beside a wall while facing away from it. This is so there is no risk of falling backward. It’s also safer than the regular version because patients are allowed to use the armrests for support.

How do you score this test?

The score is equivalent to the number of times your patient can assume a full-standing position. All you need to do is to check which score range the patient falls on.

Which is better? The regular version or the modified one?

Neither. It’s up to you to decide which test better suits your patient. If they seem capable, then perhaps the regular version is best. Since the regular version forbids patients from using any form of support for this test, you will be able to see just how capable they are. If they can pass the regular version, they are obviously strong enough and have a low risk of falling.

Those taking the modified version, more often than not, require support since the use of their hands and armrests for support is allowed.

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